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Showing posts from June, 2014

Patricia Kambesis

Patricia Kambesis has been actively involved in cave exploration and survey since 1974. She has explored and mapped caves in 21 states of the US and also in Mexico, Puerto Rico, China and Greece. Kambesis is experienced in all aspects of cave mapping (instruments/book) and cartography, and has published several hundred maps and reports. She has won numerous awards for cave cartography, and has taught more than 20 seminars on cave mapping and cartography techniques. She is also part of a team of cartographers involved in mapping Mammoth Cave.

Kambesis is past president and a current board member of the Cave Research Foundation. She has written articles and created cave maps for a variety of publications, and has won many awards for her work involving caves. She is a Fellow of both the National Speleological Society and the Cave Research Foundation.

Kambesis has a Bachelors Degree in geology and biology, and is currently working on her Masters Degree in geology at Wester…

81-year-old woman hikes to Timpanogos Cave for family tradition

JoeAnn Johnson hiked to Timpanogos Cave days ago to keep a family tradition. The trail is 1 ½ miles long with an ascent of 1,000 feet. "My grandmother did this when she was 80," she said. "My mother did this when she was 80, and I was planning on doing it last year when I was 80, but I fell and hurt my knees, so I have been working on this to get better and get in better shape, and my knees working so I could do it this year.”


Homage to Annick Menier

This extraordinary French woman died unexpectedly on December 9, 2013, at work. She was one of the rare women within the French Speleo Rescue (SSF) to be nominated by the Dordogne Prefecture to the post of Rescue Technical Advisor Assistant, a post she occupied with passion for many years. Her speleological career included the post of president of the Regional Speleological Committee of Aquitaine which she held for several years before running for and being elected to the Vice-Presidency of the French Speleological Federation from 2004 to 2008. She was best known among her peers, both in France and internationally, for her indescribable force and fortitude, her dynamism and spirited motivation and her availability at all times. Always so ready to hold high the SSF caving values as well as the values of feminism she cared so much about and clung to vigorously defend, Menier is sorely missed by all who knew her.



Famous Women Scientists

British and American polls say that few people can name even one famous woman scientist. Here are some women in the sciences including medicine and mathematics. You may recognize some of these famous women scientists; others may be new to you and worth further exploring. They're listed alphabetically over several pages


We have come a long way since the 70's

In 1972 women among cavers were viewed somewhat like property in certain sects. In the ISS Newsletter Vol1, No10 evidence of this is clear.

The article said that a survey leader at Easter Cave in Australia "sought likely girls from the tourist hordes" to service the single male surveyors on the trip so that they could live "their life to the fullest." Although his efforts received a mixed reception, one caver "later married a lass from the ... selection."


Cami Pulham co-leads two caving exhibits

Cami Pulham co-lead with other members of the Timpanogos Grotto a partnership with the Utah Museum of Natural History in 2005 that lead to two caving exhibits. One illuminated and expanded the understanding of caves, their beauty, and mystery. And the other was a traveling photo exhibit from the Smithsonian and the NSS. Nice work Cami and the Timpanogos Grotto!


Hester (Helena) Mellonee takes caving to a whole new frontier

Hester (Helena) Mellonee takes caving to a whole new frontier as a geological expert working with NASA. She is also a huge contributor to conservation efforts at the Oregon Caves National Monument. Read more about her in our 2013 edition magazine.

How Cullen Edelman learned to love bats

When Cullen was 12 or 13, her mother invited Merlin Tuttle, the founder of the Austin-based Bat Conservation International, who was visiting to Houston to deliver a talk at the zoo to stay at their house. This sparked Cullen's interest in bats. The beautiful descendant of an oil baron worked for Bat Conservation International, and then earned her Ph.D. from Columbia with a dissertation about South American rainforest bats.
Cullen is the descendant of oilman Hugh Roy Cullen, and part of the sprawling family whose name seems to attach naturally to words like "Center," "Theater" and "Foundation." Cullen's mom, Beth Robertson, followed in her own mother's footsteps, throwing herself into the family tradition of good works. She served on gazillions of boards of directors, working to save the world through education, conservation and medical care but Cullen decided to go against the grain. Once her mother complained about Cullen's long stay at a…

Guide to Speleological Literature

A Guide to Speleological Literature was authored and edited by both men and women cavers. Emily Mobley was a co-author and Diana E. Northup acted as the editor.

The book opens the door to an amazingly diverse universe of books about caves: history, caving adventure, archeology, geology, biology, paleontology, conservation, exploration, show caves, and much more. Individual chapters cover the history of the literature of major sub-disciplined while indexes provide geographic, subject, and author access. In addition, noted authorities have provided introductions to the literature in the major areas of speleology. These contribute to making the book a good read. The most significant entries (about ten percent) are annotated by experts in the various fields. The editors traveled the world documenting the features of many of the over 3500 different books and booklets in the GUIDE.

This work contains details on a large number of books that are not accessible through any othe…

Sybill Amelon

Sybill Amelon, hailed by Lori Godsey of Marshall Parks and Recreation Research Wildlife Biologist  as "one of about three specialists on bats worldwide" has accomplished much in her 37-year career with the U.S. Forest Service. This amazing woman holds a postdoctoral associate at the MU College of Agriculture and has produced numerous publications including. In her day job Amelon says she has to identify up to 400 bats a month that have been killed primarily by frightened homeowners. In 2004 Amelon's team helped discover the first colony of pregnant Indiana bats in Mark Twain National Forest in southern Missouri. Outside of work she volunteers her time to contribute to bat conservation too. She is a North American Society for Bat Research Board Director and a partner and researcher for She participates in efforts related to the NSS too. In 2012 she was a speaker for the 5th Annual White-Nose Syndrome Symposium. Nice work Sybill. Thank you for your …

DeeAnn Reeder Names New Genius of Bat: Niumbaha

Reeder, Bucknell Associate Professor of Biology, was co-leading field research and conservation team when she spotted a new genus of bat in Bangangai Game Reserve which she named Niumbaha, a Zande word meaning "rare" or "unusual." Originally captured in 1939, this rare bat was categorized in the genus Glauconycteris. "To me, this discovery is significant because it highlights the biological importance of South Sudan and hints that this new nation has many natural wonders yet to be discovered. South Sudan is a country with much to offer and much to protect," said Matt Rice, FFI's South Sudan country director.


Fiction book about a cave woman: The Clan of the Cave Bear

Jean M. Auel wrote The Clan of the Cave Bear at 40, after her career in business stalled out when she hit what she describes as a “glass ceiling.” It’s no wonder that the book ended up on so many recommended reading lists for kids despite its depictions of sexual violence and frank treatment of topics like contraception and abortion: It’s a truly triumphant tale not just about one girl’s coming of age, but about humanity’s.
At its core, Cave Bear is speculative fiction about a young girl named Ayla and her survival and resilience in an elaborately imagined authoritarian society. Ultimately, though, Ayla’s ability to learn and do both women’s and men’s work is key to her own survival and safety; indeed, Auel makes it clear that it’s key to the evolution of humankind.
* From excerpts taken from a review by Tammy Oler

Sofia Reboleira

Reboleira, a biologist at the University of Aveiro and postdoctoral researcher Center with Enviromental and Marien Studies, discovered in a cave in the western Caucasus in 2012 that contained some of the deepest groundwater invertebrates of the world. These more than 12 species, most of them unknown until now, were found living 2,140 meters "in areas where food shortages would assume that life was nonexistent or occasional." The cave is predominantly vertical with flights of over 150 meters and cascades of ice water.


Photo Credit Robbie Shone,

Three Missouri women leaders

Bree: Dept of Transportation
Shelly Colatskie: Dept of Conservation
Kirsten Alvey: Director Missouri Bat Census


Dr. Kimberli Miller

Dr. Miller graduated from the University of Missouri with a BS in Animal Science and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. Since 1992, she has been a Wildlife Disease Specialist at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center, where she works to solve wildlife disease problems. In 2008 she collected field samples from a WNS positive cave in Vermont to learn more about white-nose syndrome (WNS), the disease killing bats in New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut by the thousands. WNS has now spread as far west as Kentucky, as far south as North Carolina, and to four Canadian provinces. It is estimated that over a million bats have died since 2007, making this the largest disease outbreak among mammals in modern times. "One of my Center’s laboratories first isolated a cold-loving fungus from sick bats that they later named Geomyces destructans." she said. She also hailed the organized cave organizations saying: "The caving community has helped efforts to prev…

Cami Putnam at the 2005 conservation effort at Crystal Cave in Utah

Cami Putnam, Editor for Timpanogos Grotto, participated in the 2005 conservation effort at Crystal Cave in Utah with other Salt Lake Grotto members to install a gate that protects the cave's formations and the growing Townsend Big-eared Bat population. Nice work Cami and the Timpanogos Grotto!

Sarah Yeomans

Yeomans, fellow of the Explorer’s Club and certified archaeological speleologist is a fellow at the University of Southern California, where she is currently a doctoral candidate. As Director of Educational Programs at the Biblical Archaeology Society she conducts archaeological research of Biblical sites in the Near East as well as ancient medical technology and astronomy.

She explained her parent's reaction to her career choice: "Well, I admit I did cause my parents some consternation; I think they were hoping I'd get a nice solid, useful business degree." In his career as an astronomer at NASA, Yeomans witnessed  "what it was to love what you do and how much satisfaction there is ... in a career in which there's always a process of discovery." As a speleologist "there's always something new to learn, there's always something exciting to investigate." she explains.


Cavers Celebrate Bill Oldacre

Cavers gathered on Saturday at the NSS Warren Cave Preserve (Alachua County, Florida), to celebrate Bill Oldacre, the former preserve manager. Pictured with the memorial plaque are Bill’s widow Shirlee (right) and his daughter Maria (left). Image: Eric Amsbury. 

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